Determining what the perfect career path for you is, can be a daunting decision to make. Most people understand that enjoying your work is a crucial aspect of the job. As you begin University, you may not always have a clear idea of what job you want from the get-go. This is totally normal! You have a couple years to learn what sort of work inspires you and adjust your academic pursuits accordingly. A graduate job should not feel like a life sentence! To know how to figure out the right career path suited to you, here is a helpful guide to narrowing down your options.
Conducting Career Assessments
Finding some insight into your career options can be as simple as completing a Buzzfeed survey… but with some added measures, of course, it is your future at hand after all. You’re about to seek help both online or through deep introspection. Now, before you exhaust every career quiz on the internet, it is important to know where to look for the best and most effective results. The site you use should have some level of validity and reliability. If it is from a highly acclaimed agency or delivers consistent results, it is worth trusting.
These career assessments are good starting points to help you open a dialogue with yourself to self reflect. Use it as a tool to your advantage, to evaluate how well the results match your passions, personality, values and preference. Ask yourself some honest questions.
What is most important for you in a job? High pay? Location? Workplace culture?
What do you excel at?
Are you open to change job locations?
Would you like to manage people or work in backroom analysis? etc…
Finding the right fit for you requires more research. Explore the many employable fields. You have an abundance of internship roles, volunteer opportunities or apprenticeships to allow yourself to do some further soul searching. As long as you are open and flexible to new opportunities, you may never know what you will stumble upon, and your luck will expand exponentially.
Get more organised and create a ranking or comparative spreadsheet to assess the job opportunities or education you’ve had and align them with the industries you want to work in. Breakdown the characteristics of every job description or responsibility and rate them against how they match your own traits to narrow down your goals.
Look for Overlap.
One way to optimise your career options is to use more analytical thinking. Pretend you are marketing yourself as an asset to businesses and look for the value proposition of your brand as a candidate. Align your strengths with what companies are demanding and search for overlaps. Consider factors beyond desirable job titles and look at your interests, talents, hobbies and skills.
Find your Passion
Rather than closely analysing your critical or technical skills, look at the things you love to do. Ask yourself what you enjoy doing in your spare time, what you wouldn’t mind dedicating free volunteer hours into or what inspires you. If an organisational ability isn’t a strength of yours, perhaps dig into your artistic aptitudes and pursue a career in a more creative environment as opposed to a corporate managerial role. If you love reading books, perhaps you could seek employment in research. Having a strong interest in something makes it a lot easier when it comes to job decisions. Capitalise on your passions and you’ll never work a day in your life!
Is Your Career Sustainable?
It is very important to consider whether or not your chosen career path has a future. Research the projected growth of your field before coming to any conclusions about where you want to situate. Many industries have high projected job growth such as renewable energy or digital media. Others are forecasted to decline, such as work in Wired Communication Carriers or apparel manufacturing. Be sure you are making informed decisions about your career path and thoroughly research the sustainability or demand for labour in your chosen field.
To get a sense of what path you want to be on, networking is a fantastic way to get in touch with experienced individuals with valid advice. To be more in touch with your career path, socialise and connect with qualified people who have most likely tackled every hurdle or requirement of their respective field. Asking them to share their knowledge will give you great insight into what you have to look forward- the environment, the culture and the rewards. Especially when it comes to job-seeking in a new industry or field, you’ll be grateful to have the connections to guide you into unfamiliar terrain. Next time you have the chance, ask someone out to lunch or coffee (your shout!) to discuss their career journey or accomplishments to broaden your network. Surveys have shown that roughly 85% of jobs are filled by networking!
Consult with a Mentor
A great coach or mentor will take you to great heights in your career. To be the best, you must learn from the best. Most Universities offer counsellors or work advisors to help connect you to suitable job opportunities. Take advantage of your available resources and you will be much more exposed to potential worthwhile experiences. If you are seeking a new job without Uni enrolment, there are many avenues to seek the best mentors- from the paid services you can seek online, to the kind who have a highly acclaimed accomplishment to advocate your skills or qualifications, you will find effective guidance in many places if you know where to look. Be resourceful to boost your career by speaking to mentors to bounce around ideas and introspective questions to point you in the right direction. Having interview experience in this manner will be helpful in more ways than one as you practice discussing and building your interpersonal or critical thinking skills. Seeking a second opinion will also give you a new perspective on how effectively you are utilising your skills and assets to find the right job path.
Ending up in the career of your dreams is easier said than done, and the path can be full of intimidating obstacles. As long as you make thoughtful job decisions, your career journey can potentially be very rewarding. Remember, as long as you learn to effectively assess your options, make external connections and think critically about your personal qualities, entering a new career path does not have to feel like a life sentence. Being resourceful will optimise the available tools around you, and allow you to pursue a career which aligns with your passions, values and aptitudes. Happy career hunting!